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Forte out, dodges questions

Published: Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 5:30 a.m. CST

LAKE FOREST – Bears running back Matt Forte had no interest in stopping to speak with reporters Friday after he was ruled out for Week 3 because of a sprained ankle.

“Y’all can talk to Mike,” Forte said as he walked away.

That would be fellow running back Michael Bush, who is expected to replace Forte in the starting lineup Sunday when the Bears host the St. Louis Rams.

It’s understandable for Forte to be upset about missing a regular-season game. He appeared in 60 consecutive games in his first four years in the NFL until a sprained knee forced him to miss the final four games of the 2011 season.

Now, an injury will force Forte to sit out for the fifth time in the past seven games.

Bears coach Lovie Smith said Forte was “making a lot of progress” but did not indicate whether he would be able to return in Week 4 against the Dallas Cowboys.

Meanwhile, Bush said he was prepared to make his first start with the Bears. He started 19 games in four seasons with the Oakland Raiders, including nine starts last season.

“You’ve just got to be ready early,” said Bush, who has 26 carries for 96 yards and two touchdowns this season. “You get into a flow, get into a better groove. But as far as the way my mindset is in preparing for the game, it’s still the same.”

Bouncing back: Bears quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates was asked how he expected Jay Cutler to bounce back after a subpar performance in Week 2 against Green Bay.

“Like a true professional,” Bates said. “Come to work and be ready to win the game.”

Bates was not worried that problems from Green Bay might linger into this weekend.

“We’ve moved on from last week,” Bates said. We didn’t play well enough as we needed to. We didn’t handle everything like we needed to, and we took care of it in-house.

“We’ve moved on. We’re on to the St. Louis Rams.”

Rams report: Rams running back Steven Jackson could be a game-time decision to play Sunday against the Bears depending on how his injured groin is feeling.

Jackson, who has rushed for 193 yards and a touchdown in two career contests against the Bears, injured his groin last weekend against the Washington Redskins. He did not practice at all this week and was listed as questionable on the Rams’ injury report.

If Jackson cannot play, Rams rookie Daryl Richardson is expected to start in his place.

Bears bits: Linebacker Brian Urlacher returned to practice Friday after sitting out Thursday as part of a scheduled day off. … Rams offensive tackle Roger Saffold (knee) is out for Sunday’s game, while defensive tackle Michael Brockers (ankle) is doubtful.

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